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What Bible Translation Do I Use?

Being the senior pastor in a church, people have sometimes wondered what Bible translation do I use and why. Given the meaning and the foundational importance that the Bible holds in Christianity, and since I am responsible for teaching the scriptures, it is a reasonable question. So in this post, I will address this subject and give some reasoning.


I will start by sharing what Bibles I use in the three primary contexts where I use the Bible and why. That being my personal reading, my Bible study time, and when I am preaching or teaching in a church setting.

Personal Bible Reading

The primary Bible I use for reading is the traditional King James Version (KJV).


  • It is a formal equivalent translation, meaning it is translated word-for-word as much as possible and moving to translate meaning or phrases when necessary.

  • The KJV is the Bible I grew up reading. It is the tradition that I have embraced. (Tradition is not bad as long as it doesn’t become a sacred cow.) I am very comfortable with the KJV and enjoy reading it.

  • The style of the KJV is poetic in structure and style, which I also like.

  • Since I am familiar with it and because of its poetic style, I find the KJV easy to memorize

Preaching and Teaching

When Preaching and Teaching, I mainly use the Modern English Version (MEV).


  • Like the KJV, it is a formal equivalent translation.

  • It uses the same traditional Greek and Hebrew texts as the KJV's foundation for translation.

  • The style holds to the poetic nature of the KJV.

  • The translation is current in the use and meaning of words and phrases; therefore, it is more understandable for the average person with little familiarity with 1600s English and those whose mother tongue may not be English.

Bible Study

In my Bible Study, I use the KJV along with other translations. I particularly like the English Standard Version (ESV), the Amplified, and Young’s Literal Translation (YLT).


  • Every translation has strengths and weaknesses; there is no perfect translation. I will address this further below.

  • Different translations compared and used together can provide a rich understanding of scripture.

  • I will note that when I look into the original Greek and Hebrew Words, I use the KJV as the foundational text with a related concordance. I do it because, in my opinion, it ensures consistency and offers the best foundation for looking into the original language and words.

IMPORTANT NOTE - Since I told you what I use, I will also say what I won’t use, that being a paraphrase. Examples include the Message or Passion Bibles. I only use translations, and regardless of what some say, these two Bibles are paraphrases.

what bible translation is best


This leads to a question I sometimes get. Do I not believe that the KJV is the perfect preserved Word of God in English? Is it not the best Bible translation? Why am I not a proponent of KJV only?

First, as I outlined above, the King James Version is my main Bible. It is a great Bible with a beautiful tradition. It can be used in confidence. What I am about to say is not to try to convince someone to stop using the KJV. I say this because someone may feel with what I am about to say that I am tearing the KJV down, which is not the case. The following are reasons why I cannot consider it the only perfect preserved anointed Word of God in English and, in some situations, why I don’t consider it the most accurate.

Second, I am outlining the reasons why I do what I do. I have looked carefully into the subject of Bible translations, and I have gone through an extensive thought process to come to the conclusions I have. I don’t haphazardly make the decisions I do.


One of the reasons sometimes used to push the KJV and what some people think is the KJV was the first English translation. This idea is not accurate. There were several earlier translations, such as the Wycliffe Bible in 1400, the Tyndale English Bible from 1526, and the Geneva Bible from 1560. It is also important to note that the KJV borrows words, phrases, and sentence structures from these earlier translations and uses them in its translation. It is not true to say it is the earliest English Bible and, therefore, the one to use.


Some proponents of KJV only describe this translation as the only accurate word-for-word translation and that everything in the King James Version is translated this way.

Translations do their best to be word for word, but not one Bible exists that is translated 100% as a word-for-word translation. Differences in language styles, phrasing, “sayings”, vocabulary and grammar do not allow this. While translations do their best to come close, and much of it is, the nature of language doesn't allow it in every case. By the way, if you read the KJV's preface and the notes the translators provided, they recognize this. They do not claim their translation to be perfect and do not disparage other translations.


The King James Bible came about because of some religious events of that time. There were conflicts between the Church of England and the Puritans. King James was a new King who was looking to unite society. He hoped this translation would bring together the Church of England and the Puritans. There was also a political reason for the new translation; to protect the monarchy's power. There were challenges to the monarch's role and power in previous translations that needed to be removed. These reasons led King James to authorize a new translation to be made. He believed that a single “Authorized Version,” the only translation to be used in the church, was a political and social necessity.

Many who claim problems with other translations do not know or fail to understand that there were rules by King James for this authorized translation. King James issued over a dozen rules that the translators of that time had to follow. It must be remembered that King James's religious and political motives directly influenced the translation.

Here are two rules that were issued:

Rule #5 - division of chapters to be altered either not at all, or as little as may be, if necessity so require.

This rule had little influence on the translation and kept consistent the chapter and verse structures of the previous translations, which is fine.

Rule #3 - the old ecclesiastical words to be kept

This rule meant the old religious terms/traditions for words had to be kept. On the one hand, that seems ok, but here is an example of what that means. The word church, a traditional word, was not to be translated as congregation or assembly.

The Greek word, Ekklesia, which was translated as church, would be more accurately translated as congregation or assembly. It was translated this way in the early 1600s differently to maintain power. Today, we often think of church as the local assembly we attend. At that time, the word church represented something far greater, the Church of England. If they had translated the word church as congregation or assembly, the emphasis on the Church of England would’ve been removed. The intentional translation of this word was used to promote a hierarchical authority and power (the Church of England – Archbishops - Bishops) over the local congregation. This translation also directly impacted the monarchy. The monarch is the Defender of the Faith and the Supreme head of the Church of England. The monarch appoints archbishops, bishops, and other leaders in the church. These church leaders then swear allegiance to the king or queen in place. Through this religious system, the church's strength was secured; the church leaders supported the monarch, which meant they wouldn’t question the monarch's authority. This led to security for the political power, the king, who sat on the throne.


The first version of the King James Bible was completed in 1611. It has undergone several revisions: 1613, 1629, 1638, and revision of 1769, which is mainly used today. If the KJV is perfect, which revision is the perfect version? If it is perfect, why would modifications need to be done?

Most Christians would not consider the Apocrypha, a set of additional books, as scripture. They would be correct. What many don’t know is that the original KJV contained the Apocrypha. If the KJV is perfect, why are these books omitted today?


In some places, the KJV uses inaccurate words in the translation. The term Easter did not exist at the time of Christ or the original writers of the Bible. What we call Easter today was the time of Passover. The KJV uses the incorrect term in Acts 12:4 - And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

There are criticisms of other translations. But there are also some criticisms of the KJV. The same examination must be applied to the KJV if we put other translations through such scrutiny. Again, the King James Version is a great version. It can be used with confidence. But no translation is perfect.


I think everyone needs to use a Bible that can be read and understood. Some say the KJV is easy to understand. As someone married to someone where English is their second/third language. No… it is not so easy to read. We will see language changes in a moment, but my wife uses the ESV because she understands it better. I do find it interesting that sometimes I have had the very people who say the KJV is easy to comprehend come and ask what a phrase or word in the KJV means. KJV English can be difficult for someone who is seasoned in it and who uses this translation regularly, let alone someone who has learned English as a second language.

We also need to recognize that language changes over time. The English of the 1400s was not the same as the English of 1604, which has continued till today. Words that meant one thing in 1604 don’t mean the same in 2022.

Here are some examples.

The word SAVE. Our concept of this word includes to make, keep, or rescue someone or something safe from danger or harm, or to bring something back to a satisfactory condition, or to keep from being lost.

It makes sense to read this word in the KJV in Matthew 8:25 - And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

Now look at John 13:10 - Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.

Same word, but given the above understanding or definition, it doesn’t make sense in the verse from John. In the MEV, it reads - Jesus said to him, “He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean. You are clean, but not all of you.” The word save in John 13:10 is better understood as only and makes much more sense in the context.

What about the word SUFFER? We have a context for what this word means in our modern understanding. See this word used in Matthew 16:21 - From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

It is easily understood in the context of the verse, but now read it in Matthew 19:14 - But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. The MEV says - But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them. For to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”

Here is a common word misunderstood by many who read the KJV. The word is CONVERSATION. Here are three verses from the KJV that use this it.

Galatians 1:13 - For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

Ephesians 4:22 - That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

1 Timothy 4:12 - Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Many think these verses are about our conversation, as in the things we say or speak or how we communicate. When the KJV was translated in the early 1600s, the word conversation carried the meaning of behaviour or conduct. So these verses take on a more significant, richer meaning when you understand this.

Let’s see one more. Read 1 Samuel 27:10 - And Achish said, Whither have ye made a road to day? And David said, Against the south of Judah, and against the south of the Jerahmeelites, and against the south of the Kenites.

Look at the phrase “whither have ye made a road today?” Many would read, where have you made a road, a path to drive, walk, or ride upon, today? But that is not what it’s saying.

The MEV reads - Then Achish would say, “Where have you made a raid today?” And David would say, “Against the Negev of Judah,” or “Against the Negev of the Jerahmeelites,” or “Against the Negev of the Kenites.” This now makes sense in the context of the verse.

So the need for modern translations is evident with the change in language and meaning of the words. It is not as simple as some make it out to be.


It may seem like I have picked on the KJV, but I am not. I like this translation very much and find it a valuable part of my reading and study. However, it is not the perfect and only valuable or anointed translation.

I would always want to promote the reading of scripture. That is why I suggest using an understandable translation that will encourage you to read the Bible more. It is far better to be in the Word in a modern translation than not reading the Bible because you struggle with the old English.


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Jan 06
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Very good and precise.

Replying to

Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts and encouragement.

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